Five years ago (this Saturday), after 9 horrendous months of pregnancy and 25 excruciating hours of labor, I gave birth to my first baby. And I can tell you two things.
It’s been the hardest five years of my life.
And I love this beautiful boy more than I can say.
Yesterday I went to his preschool, where they had an early birthday celebration for him. All the other kids sat in a circle, with a lit candle on the floor in the middle (signifying the sun), and Teacher fastened a cape and crown on Cameron, and then he walked around the candle slowly, carrying a globe (signifying that he was the center of the universe, or something – I may have missed the exact explanation), and the kids all sang to him.
And my boy had the most glowing expression on his face – part solemnity, part embarrassment, part excitement – and his cheeks were flushed in red patches, and he kept glancing over at me, where I was sitting on the floor behind the other kids, and I was smiling so big it felt like my face was going to break.
I was also crying. He often has this effect on me.
(And here’s a picture of us, when he was about that age. I apologize for his protruding tongue.)
The poem isn’t great. The boy is.
He sits on the floor
banging a remote control on the ground
a miniature, cherubic thief
He just got into my purse
and pulled a cord from the wall
and crumpled some leftover wrapping paper
He grabs everything that’s not his:
a milk jug from the recyclables
He is a seasoned robber now
having taken so much from me already
every second of my free time
Some of these things I can retrieve
sleeps through the night
stops breastfeeding, so I can exercise
(once I have the strength to exercise!)
once he outgrows diapers
once he goes off to school…
Once he has his own life
He discards the remote
leans back on his fat, diapered bottom
fixes his sky-blue eyes on me
And with smooth, pink gums
he flashes that toothless grin
Yes, in time I may recover each thing he’s stolen
save one –